The BMW i8 is getting a lot of interest here even before its slated arrival in the third quarter of this year
Fast Lane The BMW i8 is getting a lot of interest here even before its slated arrival in the third quarter of this year. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BMW HYBRID SPORTS CAR COMING

BMW's stunning i8, a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid sports car, is slated to arrive as early as the third quarter of this year. Life! understands that the car, which is powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged inline-three paired with a high-powered electric motor, is already whipping up huge interest here. The futuristic full carbon-fibre coupe with swan doors has a combined output of around 360bhp, enabling it to nail the century sprint in 4.4 seconds. It is expected to cost between $650,000 and $700,000.

NEW BRITISH BRAND DUE

A new British luxury brand will be launched in April. David Brown Automotive, named after its businessman owner and founder, promises a "classic British sports car for the 21st century". His team includes Alan Mobberley, who was chief designer at Land Rover for 19 years until 2005. The first product, codenamed "Project Judi", combines "a classically inspired exterior design, with the latest in performance, dynamics, technology, comfort and refinement".


HORSE COLLECTION FROM ROLLS-ROYCE

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is offering bespoke Ghosts to mark the arrival of the Year of the Horse. Its Majestic Horse Collection boasts hand- crafted marquetry on the dashboard and embroidery on the headrests and cushions. The exterior is finished with a horse motif, hand-applied to the twin coach-lines.

FERRARI AGENT TIES UP WITH ITE

Ferrari agent Ital Auto has formed a collaboration with the Institute of Technical Education. Apart from committing to hiring graduates, the dealer - part of the Komoco group - will be helping the institute with technical information as well as supplying automotive parts such as carbon discs, gearboxes and even engines.

"This is to augment the curriculum, to make it a bit more experiential," an Ital Auto spokesman said. "This will happen over the course of the year as we get hold of interesting bits and pieces that we feel would be relevant."

The Ferrari agent has hired two ITE graduates so far and will take on one more soon. The Komoco group, which also represents Hyundai, Chrylser and Harley-Davidson, will also be hiring students from the institute. "We hope to be their employer of choice when they graduate," the spokesman added.


EFFICIENT SEVEN 160 TO BE PRODUCED SOON

Caterham Cars will start producing the Seven 160 soon. The model, which uses an 80bhp turbocharged 660cc Suzuki engine, is poised to be the most efficient model in its segment. With a super lightweight body, it is expected to hit 100kmh in 6.5 seconds, and a top speed of 160kmh.